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Opulence This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I’ve been watching him for days now. When he leaves his house to go to school, I’m the one carefully tailing him, switching cars every day to make myself look less suspicious. If he ever sneaks out of his second-story room, I’ll be the one silently watching from a nearby tree. In class when he turns, feeling eyes on the back of his head, I’m the one who sent the hair on the back of his neck up on end. I am the girl whose shadow is always slightly overlapping his.

Being assigned to watch him almost makes me
feel like I’m not a stalker. Though I’m only 17, I’m a full-fledged member of the organization known as O.P.U.L.E.N.C.E. I’ve been with them since the ­tender age of five. It’s my home. Being an orphan, my office is also my permanent residence, the couch a fold-out bed. There are many others like me: no family. A lot of us are loners and haven’t chosen this route for ourselves.

I’m a tracker. I have been for years and some might say that I am the best at not being the best. In other words, I’m great at being invisible. Or at not being noticed. It’s not as hard as the others in the organization think. Being young and female is good, since most we track are young. Seeing me around younger people – my age, actually – doesn’t raise alarm bells. It helps that I’m cute. With a small frame, light hazel eyes, and short blond hair that curls under my chin, I don’t appear threatening. Of course, my ­organization-funded training doesn’t back that theory.

Soon I won’t be tracking down others with the power. They are finally going to give me an apprentice. After years of mastering everything I’ve been taught, they see my potential. That’s not to say I know everything. Even with my extended life I won’t be able to learn all the things I want to. If only this annoying boy would show the signs. It’s been almost a week. If he doesn’t show soon, they’ll reassign me. That much longer until I get my apprentice.

So here I am, sipping a latté and waiting for the Target to leave for school. I have been put in all of his classes in case something happens there, though I graduated high school years ago. Private tutors sped things up. With no family or personal ties, I had lots of time to devote to my studies. Martial arts black belts. Twelve languages, not including English. Everything a girl needs for a serious career in the agency. Such positions of power are not handed out easily. You must prove yourself many times over.

The Target and I have never spoken, but I know a lot about him. His file told me some, but after watching him for only a few days, I feel confident in saying that I know things no one else does. Not just the obvious, either. He resents his father and is protective of his mother, which makes me suspect the father is less than faithful. He smiles often but doesn’t make a lot of eye contact. He usually only speaks when spoken to. Although he has many friends, he isn’t close with any of them. The Target is observant, a watcher. This leads me to believe we would get along if he shows any promise.

I look down at my watch, then back at his house a few blocks away. The Target is late, which means I’ll be late too. Today my ride is a shiny black sports car, not out of place in this suburb full of midlife-crisis men. I turn on the engine impatiently. I’m fiddling with the radio when I hear something. I don’t feel any immediate danger, and I know to trust those feelings. But I ­also know that something is off.

Just as I am about to get out of the car and pretend to look in the trunk, the passenger door opens. I look up in surprise as the Target slides into the seat next to me. I grin, quite pleased by this turn of events. This is definitely a good sign. Perhaps intuition is strong in him. That would be good for my apprentice to have, complementary. I could handle having to deal with that.

“Hello, Lenna. Why have you been following me for a week now?” the Target asks lightly, conversationally, his first words ever said in my direction.

Ah, one of my many aliases. The organization set it up so that whenever I’m on a case, I get a new name, past, and present. It’s very powerful. The organization can basically do anything it needs; it has people everywhere imaginable. I’m just one of many, though there aren’t that many at the top, as I am. They don’t trust many to be trackers. Or to be apprentices. All of the full members have the power, though we control others to get things done.

My smile deepens as I say in my authoritative, professional voice, “My real name is Jade. I am a witch of the moon and a tracker for the organization known as O.P.U.L.E.N.C.E. You are also a witch. We would like to formally welcome you into the organization as my apprentice. Here is my card for verification.”

Jade Wordsworth
Tracker for O.P.U.L.E.N.C.E
Official Political Understanding Lending ­Everyone ­Navigation for Co-Existing Ethereals
Office hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon-Sat
Phone: 555-5555
Proud league of witches of the sun and moon.

“What do you mean ‘moon and sun’? Or ‘tracker’?” he asks, still looking at my card like it’s going to ­disappear.

“Types of magic. Moon is all about spells, the sun is more potion-based, though each type of witchcraft involves the other somehow. As a tracker, I find people like you and I bring them to O.P.U.L.E.N.C.E. Every witch must register, train, and become a member by law. In fact, the organization is like a government targeted toward witches,” I explain with a smile, loving the fact that this time I get to teach the newbie.

“Magic? Seriously?” he asks, eyes wide, meeting mine. They are large, yellow, and catlike.

I click a button on my left, automatically locking the doors. I put the car into drive, pulling out onto the road. As an afterthought I add as a courtesy, “I think you had better come with me.” .

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 863 comments. Post your own now!

Teresa G. said...
today at 10:00 am
katiekoller replied...
today at 10:00 am
sadly she left us with a cliffhanger
katiekoller said...
today at 9:59 am
love the cliffhanger!!!!! :)
LifeLeaderThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Mar. 12 at 8:25 am
I love it! Are you going to continue the story?
Made_Of_GreedThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Feb. 3 at 7:47 am
Cliffhanger! This is awesome.
Kimm_GThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 11, 2014 at 6:36 pm
this is a seriously cool piece and idea. 
AnyuhhhhThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Nov. 13, 2014 at 11:13 am
I first want to say this is a really interesting piece of work and I can not wait to read the next part if you continue this story. I suggest a little more dialogue but I love your topic and that there was mystery to it. I wouldn't have put that magic in the end, maybe the last sentences could be a little different. Other than that, I think this piece has good potential and could be taken to another level! I really enjoyed this piece, it kept me involved to the end.
LueReion said...
Sept. 20, 2014 at 7:01 pm
Wow this is really intriguing so far! Also it's a unique story good job :)
Jacboyd7 said...
Jul. 10, 2014 at 11:37 pm
Very Good!! It is a great story and I can't wait to ready the next scenes. You are an excellent writer. 
A.K.-Me said...
Apr. 26, 2014 at 8:00 am
Wow, you really have talent !
JohnPaulGeorgeandRingoThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 23, 2014 at 8:23 pm
I agree, i liked the teenage Opulence memeber and there was no sign of magic untill the last few sentences. I feel it would be better you left it just the way it was headed in the beginning. However It was really good, The beginning had lots of potential for a longer piece and the word choice ws good
JustAThought said...
Apr. 5, 2014 at 9:13 am
To anyone who doesn't know; this article has been rated #1 for about 3 years, I remember seeing it here when I still had an account in 2011. I'm wondering why. Its excellently written, but aren't there more pieces out there that should also receive some recognition? How can anyone else compete with this kind of a rating system? Just a thought-please don't hate.
Kailuasurfer said...
Feb. 13, 2014 at 2:28 am
This is a great story! I feel like you could stretch the ending out, it ended a bit quickly. But other than that, it's a great story!
PlutoNevermore said...
Jan. 15, 2014 at 12:59 am
This is an interesting story, perhaps some more advanced word choice next time?
IcithraThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Feb. 8, 2014 at 8:39 pm
This already has a ton of comments, but I have to say I really enjoyed your writing. My only critique is that the dialogue seemed a little forced, not they way people would actually speak, but everything else was pristine.
Pseudonym329 said...
Jan. 13, 2014 at 3:34 pm
This was REALLY good. I would love it if you could check out my account and read my stories. I hope you can take a minute of your schedule to read. If not, then I apologize for you reading this.
ChandaMan said...
Dec. 16, 2013 at 6:03 pm
I don't mean anything bad by this but the witch thing seemed a little over board. You had a real good story going then it sounded like you tried to wrap it up quickly.
TabathaP said...
Dec. 10, 2013 at 7:41 am
I really liked this, it was written well and was interesting. But its extremely similar to Amanda Hocking's book 'Switched.' About Tyrelle (trolls) living in a normal world until their tracker decides its time to tell them what they really are. 
SubmitChannelAvatar said...
Oct. 30, 2013 at 12:14 pm
First and foremost, I enjoyed your story. I liked the plot involving witches and having their own world set aside from our own. Aside from that i liked the pacing of the story, the organization, and character development. However, more setting could be provided in order to give the reader a better idea of the environment of this world.
John P said...
Oct. 18, 2013 at 12:12 pm
Nice job, the plot was great. Everything was going well untill the magic part. It was a little uncalled for.
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